A Texas University president tried to prevent Donald Trump Jr. from giving a speech in October, but failed.
In over a thousand pages of emails to colleagues, University of North Texas (UNT) president Neal Smatresk wrote that he wasn’t happy President Donald Trump’s son would be speaking at an upcoming lecture series and did everything he could to stop the speaking engagement from happening, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“I am trying to stop it, but it isn’t an easy thing,” Smatresk wrote in an email to a professor. The Dallas Morning News accessed the email via a public-record request.
“Untangling this donor advised talk is more difficult than I expected,” he wrote in another email, expressing his fear that donor generosity might fall after the appearance of a controversial figure.
The university president wasn’t the only one unhappy with the upcoming speaker however. “We the undersigned UNT faculty write to profess our profound shock, dismay, and embarrassment that the university we are so proud to serve would stoop to invite Donald Trump Jr. to speak in North Texas under UNT’s auspices,” reads a September open letter signed by almost 100 faculty members.
“It isn’t surprising that some members of our faculty have strong opinions about the selection of this speaker and have chosen to express their viewpoints,” Smatresk told Campus Reform in a statement on Thursday. He said he would entertain no interviews.
The university advertised the younger Trump’s Oct. 24 speech to both conservatives and business leaders as a way to network.
“UNT is proud of the Kuehne Speaker Series and the quality of speakers it features,” Kelley Reese, a university spokeswoman, said, according to the local newspaper. “One of the series’ goals is to illuminate topics of interest to its prospective sponsors and to educate attendees while raising money for student scholarships.”
UNT “has every intention of abiding by state and federal laws,” Reese said.
Trump Jr. will focus on free speech and nationally significant issues in his lecture.
The university also intends to invite Chelsea Clinton to speak in the future, according to Smatresk’s emails.
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